PALO ALTO, CA - Despite a strong start from Cameron Ming, the Arizona Wildcats fell to Stanford 3-2 Thursday night in front of 1,708 fans at Sunken Diamond.
The loss dropped Arizona to 27-13 overall and 9-10 in Pac-12 play. Stanford improved to 25-12 and 9-7 in league play.
Arizona led for much of the game, taking a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the seventh. But Stanford's Brandon Wulff reached on an error with one out and advanced to second. Ninth-place hitter Maverick Handley then doubled to score Wulff and tie the game at two apiece. The next batter, Matt Winaker doubled to right to score Handley and give Stanford the 3-2 lead and knock Ming out of the game. Michael Flynn came on to get the final two outs of the inning and keep it at one run.
But the Cats couldn't score in the eighth or ninth innings off Stanford closer Colton Hock and fell by one run. Arizona will try to even the series up Friday night with a 7 p.m., first pitch.
Ming, in his second extended start of the season, went 6 1/3 innings, giving up six hits, two earned runs, one walk and striking out five on 94 pitches. Flynn tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings in relief of Ming.
The Cats struck first early in the game, getting to Stanford starter Kris Bubic right away. Cal Stevenson led off the game with a single through the right side and moved to third on a one-out single from JJ Matijevic. Jared Oliva then brought home Stevenson with a sacrifice fly to center. Alfonso Rivas followed with a single to again put runners on the corners, but the Cats stranded the runners. Bubic had to battle through the inning, though, throwing 26 pitches in the first inning.
Arizona made it 2-0 in the fourth inning to get Ming a little more support. With two outs and Cesar Salazar on second base, Louis Boyd blooped in a single to centerfield to score Salazar to make it 2-0. The RBI gave Boyd three over his last two games, after picking up a pair of sacrifice flies Tuesday in a win over New Mexico State.
Stanford got on the board in the bottom half of the inning when right fielder Brandon Wulff hit a solo home run to left-center off Ming for his second home run of the season. It was the first long ball Ming had surrendered this season.
That stayed the score until the seventh inning when the Cardinal plated two to grab the lead for good. Bubic earned the win, going seven innings, allowing two runs on eight hits and striking out four on 118 pitches. Hock earned his 10th save of the season, tossing two scoreless innings.